Thursday, 6 June 2013

Using Online Data to improve Offline Business

Are you potentially missing out by not using knowledge of your online/website visitors to improve your offline marketing success? (Offline could mean printed media, trade fairs, radio, in-store etc.)
Most businesses these days accept that having a website which reflects the business brand and which performs all the functions that a customer expects is an absolute requirement. The website (with access to even basic analytics) also offers business owners insights into customer behaviours and preferences. Compared to the information that can be gathered about online customers, the information gathered for offline customers often seems incomplete and subjective.
However, there are some fairly simple techniques that can help. By incorporating online response mechanisms into your offline marketing activity the potential to use data to improve your offline marketing is increased.

How to improve the tracking of Offline Marketing Campaigns

There are ways to measure the success of offline marketing campaigns using website analytics! For example, create a landing page with a memorable URL, like yoursite.com/specialoffer or yoursite.com/radio, and direct campaign ads there. Tracking visitors and their “journey” from the landing page through your site will help quantify the success of your campaign. (Often the most effective way to achieve this is simply to create a new page within your site in an appropriate place, allowing you to tailor the content and ensure the appropriate “calls to action” are there along with explanatory text etc.)
A new landing page for each type of offline activity will also help you to track numbers and conversion rates for visitors attracted via each type of advertisement or offline activity. The difference between your website’s regular conversion rate and the conversion rate of your various landing pages will reveal the relative effectiveness of your marketing activies.

Using online analytics to influence offline marketing

Have you ever considered using all that information you can access about your online customers to help shape up your offline marketing efforts?
Take a simple example of a Cycle Store….Customers love the how-to section of websites. By tracking the most popular topics and articles in your how-to section, you can find potential new topics for in-store events. For example, a bicycle store owner may find one of his most popular articles involves basic maintenance tasks, like changing a tire or lubricating the chain. In this case, a basic bike maintenance clinic might help draw website customers into the store.
Most analytics track where people come from and where they go when they leave your online store. Again, this information could uncover a need your store can fill. In the bicycle store example above, you may find people are leaving to visit bicycle trail maps – perhaps organizing a group ride would help draw people to your store and help them find the best local cycling routes.

Segmentation of your customer base

Internet data (on your website or social sites) can give reasonable indications as to demographics and geography etc.  How can this sort of information be used offline? Could it for example inform decisions on placing your commercials during radio programs or perhaps trying a new mix of magazines to advertise in? Website and social site analytics can give some insight into “who” is shopping, not “who you expect” to be shopping.
Using website analytics to help your offline business takes a little imagination, but it can have a big pay off. By looking past the numbers at the customers beyond them, you can find solutions to drive traffic to your physical store, as well as track how your advertising and marketing campaigns are going. Whether you’re paying for your analytics or using one of many free services available, using your website analytics to help direct your offline spend could pay dividends.